By Doug Roorbach
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The defining moment came in the second quarter, with Edgewood shooting a one-and-one. The shooter missed the front end, the ball bounced to an Eastside rebounder and everyone stood. Finally, the boy with the ball took a couple of steps, tossing the ball from hand-to-hand.
The players looked confused while the referees explained that it had been a one-and-one, and, when the shooter had missed, the ball was live.
That reminded everyone in the crowd that this was, indeed, a game between elementary school teams, the Anderson Community Schools Boys City Basketball Tournament championship game, to be precise, held Saturday afternoon at Anderson Elementary School.
Of course, the next time the boys lined up for a free throw and the shooter missed they were all over the rebound and charging down the court, only to be called back by whistles again — it had been a two-shot foul this time.
Lighter moments aside, the game was a tight one, with Edgewood pulling away with a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter and going on to win, 29-23.
“That wasn’t one of our best games, but in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter, we played well,” Edgewood coach Dan Russell said. “Two (games) in a day for these kids — for either team — is really hard. They may have been tired in the fourth quarter, and we may have been tired before that.”
In a game that started at 11:30 a.m., Edgewood beat Erskine Elementary (who had eliminated Valley Grove in a 9 a.m. game) to advance to the finals. Eastside beat Anderson (who had beaten Tenth Street) in the 12:45 p.m. semifinal.
In the final, both teams struggled early, with the score just 4-2 in Eastside’s favor at the end of the first quarter.
Edgewood’s dominant center, Emmanuel Stowes, got into foul trouble, picking up two in the first two minutes. He went to the bench for the rest of the period, then got his third foul in less than a minute when he returned at the start of the second quarter and was done for the half.
Edgewood managed to hang together without him. Substitute Andre Jones filled in well, with two points and four rebounds in the first half, on his way to seven boards for the game.
“We’re a really good team without the big fella (Stowes), but we’re a much better team with the big fella, and they got the big fella in foul trouble,” Russell said.
Both teams got their offenses going in the third quarter, scoring 10 points apiece. Eastside hung tough, despite Stowes’ return. His presence started to take a toll on Eastside, though, as two of its starters — Camden Early and Parker Allman — got into foul trouble and would eventually foul out.
“Our guys played really hard the whole game,” said Eastside coach Jason Neal. “We got into a little bit of foul trouble, which I think really hurt us in the end, but overall I’m really proud of the guys. Earlier, when we played Edgewood, it wasn’t anywhere as close as this game was. They played hard. They played the whole game. They kept their heads up. They kept fighting. In the end, I’m really proud of how it turned out, even though we didn’t win.”
Russell agreed, also citing the earlier game and how well Eastside had bounced back this time.
“That shows a lot of good things on Eastside’s part,” he said.
Stowes had a game-high 12 points and 16 rebounds. Notably, Edgewood outrebounded Eastside 35-15. Deont Valentine and Gavin Barron each had seven points for Edgewood, as well.
Mason Sutton and Matthew Winkler led a balanced scoring attack for Eastside with six apiece, while Rashaun Boyd had five and Early four. Early and Rashard Prude led Eastside with three rebounds each.